13 of us met at Chester Town Hall. A helpful passer by offered to take our group picture (I was just about to ask when he offered) - he took his time, and ended up right low on the floor (probably not my best angle!) so I will show both of them just because of the effort he went to!
We set off through town and followed the canal out to Christleton, and into the lanes. I tried to keep a steady but slightly faster pace that I may normally plod at, holding a fairly steady 13 mph, but this dropped as we hit the hills just after Tattenhall (Harthill specifically!). From here we had a down hill and gentle undulations to pass Cholmondely Castle. I had tried to negotiate using the tea rooms at Chomondely, but the estate manager insisted we would have to pay an entrance fee (£6, reduced by a pound on normal entry). This is such a shame, as now they have lost out on 13 teas/ coffees, and the chance that people may come back and visit.
So we went to the very friendly and helpful Cholmondely Arms, just a little further on. Teas, coffees, hot chocolates and a cappuccino revived us a little but five decided to head back (plans for the afternoon).
So, I phoned The Shroppie Fly and booked a table for six, although the landlord was not convinced we needed to and that we were mad riding to Audlem in this weather (what was actually a rather pleasant spring day!); and we set off.
It was a bit of an adventure - I plot my route at home on the computer; and then follow my little blue line on the GPS. I should really ride a route in advance but I'm afraid I do not have time for that. Hence two of the roads were labelled 'closed' on our way - one was not closed at all
but gave us a nice traffic free road from Pinsley Green to near Wrenbury station; the other was the final drop to Audlem on the A525. Imagine our glee when a motorbike (which had beeped at us as it passed) and a car had to reverse back out and turn around - we just dismounted to cross the bridge (as pedestrians!).
Lunch was pleasant (if not a little confusing - I had poppadum and naam bread with my Chilli con carne...?!) and as we finished Tony and friends headed off to get back earlier as he had a rehearsal at Theatr Clwyd.
So that left Bob, Dave and myself. Heading out of Audlem on the A529 (the correct direction and not towards Market Drayton) we picked up a little lane/ track introduced to the club by Stu a few years ago. It saves a long detour to Nantwich to cross the River Weaver, and is a delightful and quiet lane through two farms. The only person we saw was a chap who appeared concerned for our welfare -
Him "this isn't a cycleway you know"
Me "yes, but it is a lovely cut through and it is a right of way"
Him "But it is a private road"
Me "but it is a public right of way?"
Him "It is dangerous"
Him "because of farm traffic"
Me "oh well, thank you we will be careful"
Suffice to say we saw nothing and no-one else.
Then we met some geese in the lane, lovely to see but they had a good hiss at us!
By this time Dave also had to leave us to get to work, so he left us at Sound, and we continued to Ravensmoor; I then found a little lane Bob had not been down before. I was feeling weary so I ditched the route over Peckforton, as candle workshops would be closed by now anyway, and we headed round Beeston instead.